Lifesaving Shooting Basics For Smartphone Video

Oct 14, 2022

When you are busy making video, it can be all too easy to forget your basics.
Nail these video basics, and you’ll be shooting like a pro with your smartphone!
Being able to shoot a smartphone video quickly and efficiently means you need to multi skill, so make sure that you remember these quick tips, so you don’t waste any time!


Remember if you are shooting on 4k this uses up storage four times as fast as shooting on 1080 HD, so do make sure you leave room for all your genius video captures.

Remember to check how much storage you have left on your phone. It is all too easy to forget to do this, you suddenly want to record a great chat, or you see a brilliant unexpected moment you really want to capture and aaagggghhhhhh no more room!


Remember to make sure your gridlines are always up on your screen whenever you are shooting.

You can shoot some great footage but if it is not level, it’s not going to look professional. Frame up the pro way every single time.

Just go to settings either in main menu on iPhone or video settings in Android and look for grid. Some phones offer you just the 3 x 3 and some offer you:

No grid
3 x 3
4 x 4
Golden ratio

Go for 3 x 3, and you will be good to go.


Remember how important it is to shoot non-shaky footage. If you don’t want to use a full height tripod, just use a small table tripod as a pistol grip or put your phone in a U rig or (failing all that), make sure it’s stable on a flat surface.

Remember, if you have a video stabilisation button on your smartphone, turn it on!


It is super easy now to use lenses to help you out.

If you want to shoot detail, go for a macro lens. If you want the whole Hollywood look, check out anamorphic lenses. If you want your shot to get in closer, don’t forget the telephoto lens.

There are so many affordable clips on lenses to try out. I always recommend doing that before you spend more on the higher end lenses that can screw into customised phone cases.

Mic Up

If you are new to all this get a simple non-expensive clip on mic – don’t ever rely on your smartphone’s inbuilt mic, it really is NOT good enough for making professional video.

We are testing out mics all the time on our shoots, but nothing has yet beaten our number one recommendation, the Boya BY-M1 which costs £14.


Make sure your skin looks matte at all times. Any hint of a shine really does not work on video, so invest in some mattifying lotion. Our current favourite is Benefits Pore Professional, it works on everyone and has not let us down.

Use on your T zone and on top of your forehead and all over your head if you are bald to avoid the super shine!

Keep it clean

Remember to clean your lens.

Most people keep their smartphones in their handbag or a pocket, and they get filthy!

Get into the habit of cleaning your lens before every shoot. It is amazing the difference something, so basic can make to the quality of your shot!

Don’t do the lean!

One thing that looks totally unprofessional is leaning to press the record button on and off. Always trim the start and end of your clips!

There is NO excuse today for putting up any video chat where you do the lean back at the start and the lean in at the end!!

Every single app or smartphone these days lets you trim the top and tail of your video, so definitely do it.

Remember, lean in and press record, but then look at the lens. Count to 3 in your head before you start talking and look down the lens, then count to 3 in your head when you have finished talking.

This means you have bits of recording either end to trim up, and you look totally professional when you start talking. So simple and so much more impact.

Lock it all in

Do you know how to take control of your autofocus and auto exposure button on your smartphone?

This button does both jobs on iPhones and Samsung, but on Google Pixel phones they are two separate buttons.

Just frame up and tap your screen where you want to focus. A yellow focus and exposure square will appear. Then slide the bar for your brightness to suit, and you are ready to shoot with locked in control.

Frame rate and resolution

You can check out my easy frame rate guide here or if you don’t know what any of it means and don’t really care – don’t worry!

If you just want to shoot and go – make sure your smartphone is on 24FPS or 30FPS in your FRAMES/SEC box and 1080p HD in the RESOLUTION box. You can’t go wrong with this.!

Hope this helps to keep it simple this week!


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